Riwaka School

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School Context

Riwaka School has a roll of 215 students from Years 1-8. It is located in a rural area near Motueka.

The school’s vison for students is to develop a lifelong love of learning. Aims for student success include opportunities for students to reach their full potential and have confidence in their abilities. The school also aims for children to show caring and tolerance towards others and lead full lives.

The recently-introduced valued outcomes for students are to:

  • self-manage
  • actively respect
  • keep engaged
  • adjust to change.

The school’s strategic aims relate to building a teaching and learning culture, place learners at the centre of curriculum, and strengthen relationships with families, whānau and community by building learning partnerships.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and broader curriculum experiences
  • changes to curriculum content and delivery in relation to feedback from the community
  • aims and targets that focus on positive outcomes for children.

Since the 2014 ERO review, there have been a number of staff changes, including the appointment of a new principal and leadership team. The school has experienced significant roll growth and this has resulted in an increased number of teachers employed by the school. The current board is a mix of experienced and new trustees.

Leaders and teachers have participated in Ministry of Education supported professional learning and development initiatives, including Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALIM), Accelerating Learning in Literacy (ALL) and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

Riwaka School is a member of the Motueka Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving positive outcomes for most children. Levels of achievement have remained consistently high over time.

Most students, including Māori students, achieve at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, Māori students achieve at similar or higher levels than their peers in these areas.

Many boys achieve well in reading and mathematics. However, the school has identified that some boys need support with writing. Most girls achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported to achieve their personal best through regular, careful planning and monitoring of their progress.

The school regularly celebrates a wide range of children’s successes to promote the school-wide focus on building confidence and fostering achievement.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment methods. Moderation within syndicates enables teachers to make consistent judgements about children’s learning, progress and achievement.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school effectively identifies, monitors and responds to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Leaders and teachers identify and track all children who are performing below expectations. They closely monitor individual engagement, progress and achievement within year groups. Learning information is purposefully used to identify relevant interventions. The school effectively addresses pastoral care needs and other barriers to students’ learning success.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Many school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence across the school. There is clear alignment of the school’s shared vision and valued outcomes for children that contributes to achieving the school’s aims and priorities.

Riwaka School promotes an inclusive, respectful and positive culture at all levels of the school. The board, leaders and teachers place students at the centre of learning, teaching and decision making. They take collective responsibility for children’s learning and wellbeing by creating and maintaining welcoming, supportive relationships with children, parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers are placing an increasing emphasis on tikanga Māori and the use of te reo across the school. This is contributing to fostering a strong sense of pride and belonging in the school.

Children are purposefully involved in a broad, rich curriculum that is strongly based in local contexts. Teachers make good use of community resources and expertise to deepen curriculum experiences and engage children in meaningful learning. They foster learning partnerships with children, parents and whānau by skilfully responding to individual children’s interests and abilities.

School leadership promotes open communication and collaborative professional practice. There is a deliberate approach to shared leadership across the school that builds a culture of continuous improvement. Teachers experience a range of targeted professional learning and development to support the achievement of school priorities.

The board, leaders and teachers use effective strategies to consult with children, parents and whānau. This information informs decision-making that promotes excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Some areas of the school’s processes and practices need to be strengthened and embedded more fully to increase the achievement of equity and excellence across the school.

Leaders and teachers need to extend the analysis, evaluation and reporting of learner outcome information, particularly with respect to sufficiency and expectations for progress school-wide. They should include specific groups in reports to the board, particularly those receiving learning support or not performing at expectations.

To more fully reflect their current teaching approaches and practices, leaders and teachers need to continue reviewing and updating curriculum documentation.

The board and leaders should evaluate the impact of plans, including the strategic plan, programmes and practices across the school to ensure their aims for learning, teaching and relationships are met.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.  

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Appraisal audit

During this external evaluation, ERO found that some aspects of the appraisal process were not completed. In order to improve current practice, the board, leaders and teachers should review and improve appraisal practices to enable leaders and teachers to better build their professional capabilities. They should also ensure that all appraisal procedures follow the documented annual cycle and are completed in the specified timeframe to meet requirements.

Provision for international students

Riwaka School is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016. At the time of this external evaluation, there were no international students enrolled at the school.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the inclusive and respectful culture that places children at the centre of learning and teaching to promote their wellbeing, engagement and learning
  • the broad, rich curriculum that uses the local environment and resources to engage children in learning and deepen their curriculum experiences
  • strong school leadership that creates trusting relationships, effective communication and meaningful parent and whānau involvement in learning.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • clearly documenting the evaluation of curriculum reviews, the impact of plans, programmes and practices, and further reporting sufficiency and expectations for progress for specific groups of learners
  • reviewing and improving appraisal practices to enable teachers and the principal to better build their professional capabilities. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years. 

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

27 March 2018 

About the school 

Location

Riwaka, Motueka

Ministry of Education profile number

3217

School type

Full Primary

School roll

213

Gender composition

Female: 56.3%

Male: 43.7%

Ethnic composition

Māori   11%

Pākehā   79 %

Pacific   2%

Other ethnicities   8%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

27 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2014

Education Review August 2011

Education Review August 2008

Findings

Riwaka School is a semi-rural school with a long and proud history.

Students’ learning is well supported by the school’s curriculum. Most students achieve very well compared with other students at regional and national levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board is aware that improvements need to be made to some practices in order to continue to provide high-quality education for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Riwaka School is a semi-rural school in the Tasman area. The school is long-established and the community is proud of its history. Board membership is stable. At the time of this review, there had been a number of staff changes. The board maintains a well-resourced school.

The school culture is inclusive and supportive of students. Parents are made to feel welcome.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

This school is increasingly using achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. School-wide achievement information is carefully analysed and reported to the board. This enables trustees to develop appropriate targets and to make informed decisions about resourcing that best support student learning.

Teachers use a range of assessment practices to gather reliable student achievement information. This enables them to plan programmes that meet the needs of groups and individual students, including those with special abilities. Teachers regularly monitor the progress of each student. This information is well reported to parents which helps them be more involved in their children’s learning.

Students with particular learning needs are clearly identified. Additional learning opportunities within class programmes focus on accelerating their progress. These students also receive good-quality extra support from a specialist teacher when required. Students with high needs receive specialist support from teacher aides. This helps them to be included in class programmes and to work alongside other students. The progress of all students who need learning support is closely tracked.

The next steps to strengthen the use of achievement information to further support learners’ engagement and achievement include:

  • Involving students more in setting and monitoring their own learning goals
  • evaluating how learning support initiatives continue to contribute to improved student achievement.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

Students’ learning is well supported within the school’s curriculum.

Most students achieve above other students at regional and national levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school’s curriculum has suitable goals, and well-established values and principles. The board, principal and teachers are continuing to strengthen the curriculum to reflect the demands on learners in the future. This includes the use of a range of technologies to support learning. Teachers have specific guidelines for teaching, assessing and evaluating students' learning. Teachers are well supported by professional development to help them maintain high-quality teaching approaches.

Classrooms are well managed. Relationships between students and their teachers are respectful and affirming. Intentions for learning and behaviour are clearly established with students. They receive feedback about how well they are achieving them. Children are encouraged to support each other’s learning. Some teachers and parents are helping students focus their learning through appropriate goal setting.

The school’s wider curriculum provides students with a good range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school.

The next step to strengthen the school’s curriculum is to improve the evaluation of units of work and class programmes to ensure that they meet the range of learning needs in each class.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school provides a number of opportunities that support Māori students to achieve as Māori. These include:

  • all students participating in pōwhiri
  • students choosing to attend extension te reo Māori classes and to participate in kapa haka
  • bicultural concepts included in the curriculum
  • whole-school visits to the local marae.

The next steps to better support Māori students to achieve as Māori include:

  • further consultation with Māori parents about their aspirations for their children to succeed as Māori
  • the board developing goals and planning to identify how it will support Māori students to achieve as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The board is aware that in order to sustain and improve its performance it needs to give priority to addressing the next steps and actions in this report.

Trustees are experienced and understand their governance roles and responsibilities. The board’s strategic plan provides good guidance to leaders and teachers. The goals focus on making improvements that will benefit students and include initiatives to seek students' ideas about their learning and wellbeing.

The principal provides the board with detailed achievement information about progress against board goals. Self review is guided by well-developed plans at board and management levels. The outcomes from review focus on making improvements for students and their learning.

The next steps for the board to achieve high-quality governance, leadership and teaching include:

  • making the expectations and timeframes for reporting on progress towards the school's goals and priorities specific and manageable
  • improve the quality of principal and teacher appraisal
  • regularly seeking feedback from students, staff and parents about the school culture.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review, there was one international student attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance.

The board must ensure that the school is monitoring compliance with the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. The board and principal must regularly review its provisions and report on these and outcomes for international students.

The board must comply with the Ministry of Education requirements for the appraisal of principals and or teachers.

The board does not have clear systems for the checking of hazards around the school that pose risks to student safety. In order to improve current practice the board should:

establish a hazard register, instigate regular checking and report the outcomes to the board.

Conclusion

Riwaka School is a semi-rural school with a long and proud history.

Students’ learning is well supported by the school’s curriculum. Most students achieve very well compared with other students at regional and national levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board is aware that improvements need to be made to some practices in order to continue to provide high-quality education for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

25 November 2014

About the School

Location

Riwaka, Motueka

Ministry of Education profile number

3217

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

153

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls 46%;

Boys 54%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

82%

16%

2%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

25 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

August 2008

June 2005